When it comes to eloping, you may be wondering what vendors you actually need. Unlike traditional weddings, there’s no rules or expectations for which vendors you have to hire. Instead, you get to choose which vendors you want and don’t want to include. It really just depends on the kind of elopement you want to have and what’s most important to you. With that in mind, there are a few essential elopement vendors I’d recommend you consider for your elopement. But at the end of the day, it’s really up to you!
One of the most common vendors to hire for your elopement is a photographer of course! If you only book one vendor for your elopement, I highly recommend it be an elopement photographer (but I may be a little bias :D). Many times elopement photographers do much more than just take beautiful photos. They’ll give you advice, help you plan, and ensure you have the most magical elopement day.
Tips for booking your elopement photographer:
- Discover photographers on social media: Check out Instagram or Pinterest for inspiration and use hashtags like #oregonelopementphotographer to narrow your search. Once you’ve found a few photographers you like, head to their websites to see more of their work.
- Find the right fit for you: Because elopements are so intimate, it’s so important to find a photographer you can truly be yourself around. When you find a photographer you like, I definitely recommend hopping on a call with them to see if you guys click. They’ll have the chance to get to know you better and you can get a sense of what it will be like to work with them.
- Book your elopement photographer early: These days elopements are more popular than ever which means photographers can book up quickly. Be sure to start your search early so you don’t get your heart set on a photographer only to find out they’re not available on your date.
Aside from a photographer, another very important vendor to consider is an officiant. Although there are some states where you may not need an officiant to legally elope, in many states, you’ll need an ordained minister to make your marriage official. However, this person doesn’t always have to be an officiant you hire. Oftentimes, couples choose a close friend or family member to officiate their ceremony. As long as the person is ordained (which is easy to do online!), they’re legally able to marry you. In Oregon, the only requirement is that your officiant be at least 18 years old and part of an ordained organization that’s still active. I also know some lovely officiants I’d happily recommend if you’re looking for one.
Tips for booking an officiant for your elopement:
- Have a friend or family member officiate: Becoming an officiant is a super easy and affordable process. With a non-denominational organization like Universal Life Church, you can easily get ordained online in just a few minutes! Just be sure to check the marriage laws where you plan to elope, as requirements vary from state to state. Some states may require your officiant to show official documentation, which can easily be purchased from Universal Life Church for a small fee.
- Hire an officiant who’s up for an adventure: If you decide to hire an officiant for your ceremony, be sure to choose one who’s ready for a little bit of an adventure! Although there are plenty of amazing officiants to choose from, some may be more equipped than others to join in on the fun, whether that be hiking a few miles up a mountain or getting up early for a sunrise ceremony.
- Ask your photographer to officiate: These days many elopement photographers are also ordained and able to officiate your ceremony (like me!). If you’re wanting a super intimate elopement, asking your photographer is a great option!
Hair and Makeup Artist
You may not be thinking about hair and makeup quite yet, but if hair and makeup aren’t your thing, hiring a hair and makeup artist may be right for you. Although you can easily do it yourself or enlist the help of a friend or family member, sometimes it’s nice not to have to worry about getting all dolled up the morning of your elopement. Instead, you can sit back, relax, and get pampered before your big day!
When you’re eloping somewhere in nature, all the flowers you’d expect to see at a traditional wedding aren’t all that necessary. After all, you’ll already have the beauty of Mother Nature on your side! But if you want just a touch of floral on your elopement day, hiring a local florist to create a bridal bouquet, flower crown, or boutonnieres is a perfect way to do so!
Caterer or Chef
Although couples usually forgo a big reception when they elope, some still want to share an intimate meal as a newly married couple, whether it be just the two of them or with a few of their closest friends and family. While you may not need a huge catering company, you may opt to cater some of your favorite food or hire a private chef to cook you a multi-course meal.
Music is always a fun addition to an elopement and there are so many options to choose from—from a violinist to a guitar player to a full out band. Whether during your ceremony or at your post-elopement reception, there are plenty of ways to incorporate music into your day.
Even for elopements, videographers are becoming more and more common. If you want to capture even more visual memories, and it’s within your budget, hiring a videographer can help you do just that. Capturing your ceremony in video is also a wonderful way to share your elopement with those who weren’t able to be there.
Even though there are no rules for hiring certain vendors for your elopement, there are still plenty of wonderful vendor options to choose from. But at the end of the day, remember to prioritize the things that are the most important to you! Whether that’s an intimate ceremony with just the two of you and your photographer (that’s me!) or a small elopement with you and several vendors, it’s up to you! And that’s the beauty of eloping 🙂 Ready to get this party started?! Contact me today to book your adventure elopement photographer!